First Published: 2016-10-06

Lebanon slaps ban on three films at international festival
Festival director says ‘it’s unfortunate that political considerations interfere in arts and culture.’
Middle East Online

Screening of ‘Personal Affairs’ goes against boycott of Israeli products

BEIRUT - Lebanon has banned the screening of three films at the International Beirut Film Festival opening on Wednesday, organisers said.

The censored films were Palestinian filmmaker Maha Haj's "Personal Affairs", Syrian brothers Mohamad and Ahmad Malas's "World Cup" and Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's "The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood", festival director Colette Naufal said.

Lebanon's General Security agency asked for a scene to be removed from the Syrian film but the festival organisers refused to comply, she said.

"It's unfortunate that political considerations interfere in arts and culture," Naufal said, adding the cinematic event was striving to be "a platform for freedom of expression".

Tarek Halabi, head of the audiovisual department at General Security, said screening the Palestinian director's film went against a boycott of all Israeli products in Lebanon, "whether artistic or not", as it was produced by an Israeli company and shot in the Jewish state.

"World Cup" had been approved for screening, he added, as long as certain scenes that were "insulting to Lebanese personalities and parties" were removed.

But he said that "The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood" "showed certain elements concerning Iran", whereas "Lebanese laws forbid meddling in Iranian affairs".

Lebanon is considered one of the most open societies in the Middle East, but art is occasionally censored, usually for sexual content or sensitive religious issues.

 

Trump expects Gulf dispute to be resolved quickly

UN awaits Iran’s defence against Trump nuclear deal threats

Erdogan demands Iraqi Kurds call off referendum

Sisi calls for peace, co-existence in Mideast

The skilled youth escaping Turkey's disillusion

Trump’s mind made up on Iran but refuses to divulge

Scores of Iraqis missing during war against ISIS

Netanyahu rejects calls for mixed gender worship at Western Wall

Russia accuses US of missile treaty breach

Iran TV translator mocked for watering down Trump speech

Saudi Arabia hopes Kurdish referendum will not take place

Saudi invites women to sports stadium for first time

Saudi set to create $2.7 billion investment company

Humanitarian disaster grips Yemen three years since Houthi takeover

What will become of Iraq’s Hawija after ISIS?

Multi-ethnic Kirkuk tense ahead of referendum

US-backed SDF seizes 90% of Syria's Raqa

Man hanged in Iran for rape, murder of child

Saudi to lift ban on internet phone calls

US looking to revisit Iran nuclear deal

Bashir calls on Darfur displaced to return

Saudi Aramco could release accounts in early 2018

Saudi-led coalition says rebels hindering Yemen food imports

Jihadist activity prompts regime, Russian air strikes in Syria safe zone

Two prominent rights activists arrested in Saudi Arabia

Israel shoots down Hezbollah drone over Golan Heights

Iraqi forces launch assault on IS in western Anbar province

Families of the missing, the forgotten victims of war in Lebanon

25 killed in South Sudan clashes

Suicide attack on Iraq restaurant kills three

Yazdi, Iranian foreign minister turned dissident, stood up for his ideals

Rebel shelling kills four children in Yemen's Taez

Turkey forces dig in on southern border ahead of Kurdistan vote

Algeria’s army urged to intervene as concerns about president’s health, country’s future grow

Saudi raises $1.87 bn in third Islamic bond issue

Hamas militant dies in Gaza tunnel incident

Algeria says last stock of land mines destroyed

Bahrain accuses Qatar of seizing three boats

Police deploy in Kirkuk after deadly dispute

Sisi meets Netanyahu at UN

The Metamorphosis of Iraq’s Islamist parties

Outgoing Syria war crime investigator slams UN impunity

Syrian army close to besieging IS in Deir Ezzor

France warns on Iran, N. Korea

Palestinian PM poised to visit Gaza